What is a self healing cutting mat? How do you use a self healing cutting mat? Have you ever found yourself asking these questions? In this post, we’ll answer all of these questions and more. We’ll talk about what a self healing cutting mat is and what makes it so special. We’ll talk about how to use your self healing cutting mat, what you should look for in a new cutting mat, and more. So keep reading and learn why self healing cutting mats are so great.
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Table of contents
What is a self healing cutting mat?
Self healing cutting mats are basically layers of plastic joined together to make a flat, smooth surface that you can cut on. These cutting mats are specially designed so that when you cut on them, you do not cut into them. Self healing cutting mats are used with razor blades, either in a craft knife or a rolling cutting wheel. You can use them to cut through paper, fabric, and other lightweight crafting materials.
Self healing cutting mats are made of multiple different layers of plastic. There is a firm inner core for adding stability to the cutting mat. This helps the mat lay flat, even on a not so firm surface. This firm inner core is also why you want to store your mat flat – it helps to keep this core straight. The firm inner core has a softer plastic joined to it. This gives the self healing cutting mat some give when you press on it to cut. On top of this softer layer is the self healing layer. The outer layer of a self healing cutting mat is made of tiny pieces of plastic that are all merged together. These pieces of plastic are so small that once they’re merged, the outside looks like one piece of plastic. These separate tiny pieces of plastic allow the cutting blade to pass between the plastic pieces as you cut. After the blade has passed, the pieces flow back together.
Self healing cutting mat commonly asked questions
Can a self healing cutting mat be cut?
Self healing cutting mats can be cut. You can actually damage and gouge your self healing cutting mat quite badly if you do not use it properly. Self healing cutting mats cannot heal from all cuts.
When you are using a self healing cutting mat, it is important to hold the blade at a 90 degree angle to the cutting mat. This allows the blade to pass between the pieces of plastic in the outer layer of the mat. Holding the blade at an angle to the mat will cause the blade to cut the small outer pieces of plastic – cutting into your mat.
When using a self healing cutting mat, make sure that you are using a sharp blade. Dull blades make wider cuts. These wider cuts will not be able to pass between the outer pieces of plastic as easily and can actually cut into the plastic. Again, this would permanently damage your self healing cutting mat. So be sure to use a sharp blade with any project.
Do not use a lot of force to cut through things on your self healing cutting mat. Using a lot of force can cut into the plastic layers of your self healing cutting mat and damage it permanently. You should only light to medium force when you are cutting items on your self healing cutting mat. If you find you need to use more force – stop. Make sure that your cutting blade is sharp to be as efficient as possible and do multiple, lighter force cuts to gradually work your way through the material.
How do I store a self healing cutting mat?
Self healing cutting mats should be stored flat. While you can technically store them rolled up, being rolled up can damage the mat. Rolled up mats will not want to lie flat the next time you want to cut on them.
The best way to store your self healing cutting mat is completely flat. I tend to leave mine on my cutting table or place it alongside my notions cabinet. Other great options for storing your self healing cutting mats are behind bookshelves or other pieces of furniture. You can also place your self healing cutting mat under your bed or between your mattress and box spring / bed frame.
Self healing cutting mats should be stored at room temperature. They should be kept in the house, not somewhere that experiences extreme heat or cold. Remember, these are effectively plastic and rubber mats. Extreme heat and cold will damage your cutting mat, so store it somewhere with moderate temperatures like inside your house.
What do you use with a self healing cutting mat?
Self healing cutting mats are used with craft knifes or cutting wheels. These are both razor based cutting tools, although have different uses and forms.
Craft knives are effectively pointy razor blades on sticks. The blades of these are often easily replaceable. Knives like these are great for cutting through many different materials. You can use craft knives for cutting through paper, fabric, leather, thin metal, and more. Anything that a razor will go through, these knives will go through. When sewing, craft knives are very useful for cutting out tight inner pieces of fabrics. Complex embroidered patches that need voided grounds removed or tight inner corners on a piece of fabric are perfect uses for craft knives. Craft knives are also great for cutting single threads for pulled thread work. Craft knives are also great for cutting button holes open after you have sewn the button hole.
Cutting wheels are basically round razor blades with a handle. Think of a pizza cutter wheel, then use that on fabric. These little tools are magical if you have to cut out a lot of fabric, or even just larger pieces of fabric. Instead of having to cut each piece out manually with scissors by hand, you can just zip the roller cutter along your cut lines and watch the fabric magically be cut. No more sore hand, wrist, and forearm. They are seriously amazing. Roller cutters become even more efficient when you have to cut out multiple pieces of fabric that are the same. Think quilt making or making multiples of the same pattern piece. You can lay the fabric pieces on top of each other and cut through multiple layers simultaneously. That’s not something you’re able to do with scissors. I love my cutting wheel.
Looking for a rotary cutter and cutting mat kit? Check out the best roller cutter and cutting mat kits!
Do I need a self healing cutting mat?
You do not need a self healing cutting mat to make amazing projects. Self healing cutting mats are great and very convenient. But they are not a need. Self healing cutting mats allow you to cut out projects much more rapidly with less strain on your arm and hand. Instead of using scissors to cut out your projects, you simply roll a razor wheel or use a razor knife to cut through them. You can even cut multiple layers at a time if your material is thin enough. Since you are using a super sharp razor to do your cutting, you do not need much force at all to go through the material. This can help protect you from strain if you are doing a lot of cutting. Self healing cutting mats give you a safe space to do this cutting and also help keep the blade sharp as you cut. You can use a cutting wheel or craft razor on a different surface like a cutting board, but you will end up dulling your blades sooner. So, self healing cutting mats and cutting wheels are not needed – but they sure are nice.
What should I look for in a self healing cutting mat?
Self healing cutting mats are all generally the same. If you are buying a self healing cutting mat from a well known brand you should be fine. If you are buying and off brand self healing cutting mat, I recommend checking the reviews like anything else. Bad cutting mats can dull your blades or become delaminated. Self healing cutting mats can be expensive for what they are, so choosing an off brand cutting mat with great reviews can save you some money.
When buying a self healing cutting mat, there are a couple of features that can make your life easier when you use it. First, look for a cutting mat that has measurements printed on it. You want something that uses the same measurements that you do – inches or centimeters. These should be printed up on at least one side of the cutting mat, optimally both. The front of the cutting mat should look like a grid with all of the lines. Other nice features to have on a self healing cutting mat are lines for common angles. It is common to see self healing cutting mats with 90, 45, 30 and 60 degree angle lines printed on them. These help you when cutting out any sort of material at an angle, it gives you a reference for where you should be cutting to.
Another thing to look for in a self healing cutting mat is size. You will want a self healing cutting mat that is large enough for your projects. I have a medium sized cutting mat and tend to work with large pieces of fabric. If your cutting mat is smaller than your pieces of fabric that you cut out, you will find yourself constantly having to move and readjust your fabric pieces in order to continue cutting. This will slow down the cutting process, and ultimately become frustrating. If you happen to cut over the edge – you’ll dull your blades and have to replace them, which causes even more frustration. Do yourself a favor and buy a cutting mat that is slightly larger than most of the fabric pieces that you cut out.
What are the best self healing cutting mats?
Fiskars Crafts Rotary Sewing Cutting Set
This rotary cutter set is super highly rated, and for good reason! This is the classic stick rotary cutter design with a 45mm blade. This kit also includes a 18″ x 24″ self healing cutting mat. The cutting mat has the printed measuring grid that we recommend, as well as marked angle lines for cutting angles. This kit also comes with a clear plastic ruler to help you get your cuts nice and straight and to make sure that everything is exactly the right size. This rotary cutter kit with a self-healing cutting mat would be perfect for making clothes, quilting, cutting out home decor projects, or even paper cutting.
- Classic Stick Rotary Cutter with 45 mm blade
- Extra-large 18 inch x 24 inch Cutting Mat
- Easy-to-read measuring grid and a self-healing, double-sided surface
- 6.5 inch x 24 inch clear Acrylic Ruler
Fiskars Self Healing Rotary Cutting Mat
This self healing cutting mat is the same as the one in the kit above. This cutting mat would be a great replacement mat if your current one is damaged. If you already have a rotary cutter or craft knives, this mat would go great with them. This mat comes in two different sizes; 18″ x 24″ or 24″ x 36″. For the best experience, be sure to pick a mat that is large enough to hold most of your crafting projects on it. Having to move your project around to cut a different part can quickly become frustrating. The larger mat here would be perfect for cutting out fabric for making clothes, home decor projects, quilting, and more. This self-healing cutting mat has the measuring grid printed on both sides. This means you can use either side for your project. It also has the printed angle lines for helping you to cut out angles easier.
- 18 x 24 or 24 x 36 inch mats are ideal for cutting full widths of fabric from the bolt
- Self-healing mat provides a cutting surface that lasts longer than others
- Easy-to-read measuring grid on both sides means you can turn the mat over for double the use
- 30-, 45- and 60-degree bias lines make creating triangle and star shapes easy
- Lifetime warranty
KC GLOBAL Professional Grade Self-Healing Cutting Mat
This colorful cutting mat is also two sided. This self-healing cutting mat comes with the cutting grid printed on both sides. There are also angles printed on the cutting mats to assist with cutting angles in your projects. It comes in multiple different grid sizes, from the small 8″ x 12 ” to the large 36″ x 24 “. The cutting mats are actually a bit larger than the grid itself, usually running about 1” larger. These mats are really great for cutting on, providing a smooth flat surface so you get the most even cuts in your materials.
- Maximum protection for your workspace and all your fabric-cutting needs.
- High-quality compacted 2mm thin desktop mats, thinner than the ones on the market yet still offers more strength and durability
- Precise cutting grid printed clearly on double sided with 30°, 45°- and 60°- degree measuring grid and inches at the edge of the mat.
- Self-healing capability protects your table top from sharp blades, xacto knife, writing instruments and other art and craft tools
In this post, you learned what a self healing cutting mat is and why they are useful. You learned some good tricks for taking care of and storing your self healing cutting mat to make sure it lasts. You also learned what you should look for when you buy a new self healing cutting board.
- Need a roller cutter and a self healing cutting mat? Check out the best roller cutter and cutting mat kits